Before getting into this column, I want to say that it is as much for me as for you. This is a post documenting my experience so far. I don’t claim that anyone will have the same experience as I have, and I would love to hear from you about your experiences with anxiety.
I’ve talked about my anxiety a few times here and on my own blog. But I haven’t really given much of an update, and the reason is because it’s been a struggle. This feels to me like one of the hardest things I’ve ever battled mentally.
I’ve struggled with diagnoses of depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD in the past after my father passed away and I was regularly bullied in my teenage years, as well as the decline of my health beginning at age 16.
I think I’ve also mentioned here that I don’t know how many of the diagnoses I received at that time were accurate. I don’t deny that PTSD could still be a real possibility and at times I’ve considered I have depression, but I don’t think I have bipolar disorder. But I know for sure that I am struggling with anxiety now, and I believe it’s always been a problem for me.
Anxiety in life
Before I had to withdraw from my university, I was seeking treatment for anxiety at my school’s clinic. I was really hopeful and excited, but I literally had just finished the intake the day before I moved back home. I’ll never get to start treatment at that clinic, and it will take me some time to find services back home, especially while I await the clinic’s report.
However, my anxiety was crippling by that point and I truly felt I was close to a mental break, so I sought the help of my primary care doctor while I searched for new services.
I briefly explained to him how my anxiety/panic attacks felt, and my history and family history. He put me on a medication for depression (Lexapro) and Xanax when needed for anxiety attacks. Xanax has been a lifesaver for my nighttime anxiety, when it’s at its worst, but the Lexapro seems odd to me. I don’t feel like I have any depressive symptoms and I made that clear, but my doctor said that anxiety and depression usually go hand-in-hand and “anxiety almost always has a depression component.” OK.
It’s been a few weeks now and I’ll be heading back to my doctor soon to check in. I’m not sure how much the Lexapro is helping. I think it’s leveled out my moods and I’m feeling better overall — I’m experiencing less anxiety and fewer attacks, and when I do have attacks they aren’t as severe. But I don’t know how much of this change to credit to Lexapro or to other things, such as learned coping skills and a more balanced life. I think I’d like to stay on it for a while longer. I can’t wait to post another update.
What do you think? What has your experience been like?
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